Cable upgrade

I was contemplating a cable change as I recently purchased new speakers, Focal Sopra 1’s. I am running McIntosh MC275’s (mono-blocked). I currently have Goertz MI 2 Veracity cables. I wonder if anyone has experience with Nordost Frey2’s in a similar type system, i.e. tube amps? As the Goertz’s are also of a ’flat wire’ build type, they might be somewhat analogous and carry similar characteristics, with the Nordost doing so at a higher level?

I made a huge jump in speaker capabilities and wonder if I should also upgrade to a higher-level speaker cable also. The dealer listened to my system after we set the speakers, and he stated knowing what he knows about the Focal’s, he felt I was leaving something on the table as to the highs with my current cables. He felt the highs sounded ’ truncated’ and not as open/airy. Yes, I know he’s probably trying to upsell, but he’s been pretty honest in my dealings with him.

I have read many threads here regarding the Frey2's, and they appear to be well liked.




Who cares what he thinks?  What do you think?  Mac tends to be a bit softer up top that you may like and he’s just not used to.  If you’re happy, just be happy.  If I’m you and I’m curious, do some research or maybe buy some used Nordost cables and if they’re not a significant improvement just turn around and sell them at little/no loss.  The great thing about cables is they lend themselves very well to buying/selling used and allow you to potentially buy cables at a huge discount.  Also, you really want to give your speakers at least 100 hours of break in before assessing them or other parts of your system.  Just my $0.02 FWIW. 

Your dealer should be able to demo cables for you to determine whether something sounds better to you. That’s what dealers are supposed to do.  If they can’t or won’t, you might as well buy used and take your chances. 

Congradulations on your new speakers.

I have several recommendations. Do nothing for at least three or four hundred listening hours. Really get to know the sound of your new speakers / system. The speakers need time to breakin… a couple hundred hours and you need to intimately know what they sound like. Also, speaker placement is critical, and after they are broken in the next step is to carefully get them placed… a couple inches or degrees toe in can really make a difference. Enjoy your purchase.


Once you know the sound, inside and out then start thinking about optimizing. You will have to be the judge of what sounds best. But, I will say, I really love high end Nordost… but not their low end stuff. You may think different. The very best cables and worst I have heard on my system have been Nordost.


But you cannot just buy new cables and expect them to be optimal, unless you have extensive experience. With what you hear on your system, you should try at least three different brands. WireWorld, Transparent, and AudioQuest are the highest selling in the audiophile community… Nordost, Cardas, and DHLabs are brands you should also consider. Given your Mac… I would not think Cardas would be a good match (but that is still a guess… I haven’t heard your system).


I would read up on the cables I mentioned (Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, and HiHi+ reviews, not marketing material)… then borrow… from the lending library from an on-line like The Cable Company and maybe your dealer. You need to not only do some quick A / B comparisons… but if you like a couple pairs… then listen for a few days, then switch… then switch again.


I have spent a couple thousand hours comparing cables (interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords). It is well worth the time. Synergistic cables will really improve the performance of your equipment. Well worth the time and money.


Good luck on your quest.

Thank you for the replies. Yes, I am running the speakers in before next purchase for sure. I did like the Veracities with my other speakers, the Focal’s are for sure more articulate so I worry they might sound too bright with a cable that’s just as revealing. I've had Audioquest CV-4's, and demo'd Rockets and the Veracity.  The Veracity won out sounding a touch wider in sound stage with tighter bass.  I’m sure he’d let me try the Nordost’s, it’s about an hour drive each way with tolls but probably well worth the time.

I was hoping someone had heard the combo or close to it to help me decide. Thanks again, keep your ideas coming. I think I’m just going through "itchitis," these speakers sound good, can I make them better? : )

@tonydec .. I’m just going through "itchitis," these speakers sound good, can I make them better? : )

Yes, as already suggested, give your speakers, drivers, woofer surround, crossovers inside - 200hrs a real chance to settle in. Everything is stiff right now. Similar to @ghdprentice spent thousands of hours with different cables. imo, it's still premature right now to be swapping a bunch of different cables in/out, to later find out sound changes again. While your amp/tubes are known to have a softer sound, this can be quite nice too, so give yourself time to settle in with the sound too. 200hrs plus some speaker toe-in for now, maybe. In time, you might even find yourself toeing speakers back out once settled in. Then, If still not satisfied, get loaner interconnect & speaker cables from a dealer to try for a week or two, at least. Initial break-in and settling can be agitating, yes, give yourself time. Best of luck. 

I was contemplating a cable change as I recently purchased new speakers

This is human behavior, not audiophile behavior. When you buy a new suit you want a new tie or shoes to go with it. I recommend keeping your current speaker cables and if you want to tinker with your speakers look at vibration control platforms instead. Isoacoustics, Mapleshade, Herbies, all sell devices to place under any type of speaker.

Op ghdprentice is correct , familiarize the sound of your system and let it settle.Nordost Frey cable are excellent cable.I have a feeling they will work with your set up.Yes TCC can borrow you cable for audiotion but with fee?

With tube gear, I found Nordost cables to be a good match when I listened to them on my dealer’s setups, as well as Cardas gear. And this is coming from someone who really hated the Nordost loom on trial at home on SS gear.
However, these two really work well when used as a full loom, especially Nordost (for Cardas I feel you don’t necessarily need the power cords to march and have good results). And given that they are polar opposites, a home trial is highly recommended.

But in the meanwhile enjoy the Focal Sopras, great speakers!

Once your confident your speakers have settled in I’d encourage you to reach out again and share what improvements you’d be looking for over your current cables so you get targeted recommendations specifically what you’re looking for rather than what everybody else likes.  That’s key IMHO.  Also, I’d encourage you to not neglect interconnects.  In many systems, including mine, they have an even greater impact on sound than speaker cables.  It all needs to work together as a system in the end.  Enjoy your excellent new speakers!

+1 on working with your dealer and auditioning cables.  I will also say my first real speaker cables were the Goertz MI Veracity cables and they were decent starter cables but nothing special, so your dealer is probably right there.

@soix is correct in letter your Sopra's settle in. I listened to my Sopra 2's for about 6 months before they settled in. I was maybe listening 2 hours per day for 5 days per week. So that's about 40 hours a month and 240 hours over 6 months. The brightness definitely settles out and I understand the brightness concern right out of the gate. But they definitely burn that off and become a lot more delicate and precise rather than sharp and direct the first few hundred hours. Can't comment on cable changes as I have just run my Rocket 88's and that's it. 

I've been listening an average of about 6 hours a day to facilitate them burning in.  I detected a change in the soundstage today, seemed to flatten out so I moved them around a tad.  Have a nice deep soundstage with better focus with a slight toe in.  I'll see how that settles in the next week or so before making any changes again if needed.  Amazing how much difference small increments can make.  I have the "Get Better Sound" book to help me along.  

As many recommended, cable change will wait until I'm satisfied that speakers are run in and stabilized.

I've been listening a couple of weeks now, and I am happy with the Focal's and their "progress" so far.

I replaced the Veracity's with the AQ's I had just to see if I could detect any changes.  Seemed to even out the sound somewhat and exhibit a blacker background.  The Veracity's were a better match with my old speakers, so I'm assuming better system synergy with the AQ's and the Focals.  My interconnects are all AQ King Cobra XLR's, so IF I decide to make any changes, it'll probably be up the AQ line as at this point they seem like a better match with my gear.  Another plus is the AQ dealer is only about 15-20 minutes away so demoing different cables will be much easier overall.  As we know, just because one cable sounds great doesn't mean a better one will.  I experienced that with another system, a lessor line AQ actually sounded better to my ear on my CD player then the King Cobra's did.  

Am I thinking correctly here?  I'll check in again in about a week as speakers continue to burn in.  

Am I thinking correctly here? 

Yes you are, because you’re using your own ears, your own tastes, and your own system.  Keep going with that.  Higher price doesn’t always mean a better fit.  Sometimes less is more, especially with cables.  I’m just glad you’re happy with what you’re hearing.  Congrats!

Speakers are progressing nicely; pretty confident I am almost there. I had to reduce the toe in by a little bit and it made an improvement. When I started this, I was making changes in inches, and as I got closer it’s down to 1/4" changes which leads me to believe I am pretty much there.  After a week or 2, I will demo some upgrade cables and see if it will be worth it.  

I own Frey 2 speaker cables and I am very happy with them. Prior speaker cable was WyWires Silver Series which are wonderful cables for the money. The Frey 2’s are very revealing, and will pull things out of a recording you may have never heard. I go back and forth on amps from a Pass X250 to a Cary V12i and both amps, the Frey’s are wonderful. Speakers are Wilson W/P 6’s. Agree to get to know your new speakers first but I wouldn’t write off the Frey 2’s down the road. The Frey 2 IC’s are great too.


A lot of audio equipment will flip flop in sound quality around 120 - 180 hours. Just an fyi. After 200 hours things tend to settle down and slowly improve. Some equipment leveling out at 300 - 400 hours. My Audio research equipment reached its final state at around 1,000. Most speakers, for me stabilized by 250 hours. But I have not experience with a whole gamut of different speakers.

@tonydec good plan to let the speakers settle. If you will be auditioning speaker cables, throw the Audience AU24SX into the mix. To me, Audience cables sound better than Nordost in my system but it’s all system/rooom/personal taste dependent. 

To update, I feel the speakers may be just about there as I have not noticed any glaring differences in their sound lately. I have again made some changes placement wise. I found 2 positions that seem agreeable to my ear. One has slightly better bass, the other a slightly deeper sound stage. I have all the measurements written down so now I’ll go back and forth between the 2 and see which I prefer the most.

I am still considering a cable upgrade at some point.  As an example I have been told that AQ Robin Hood have a good bass reponse, the William Tell even better, so if I go that way I'm thinking I can use the speaker position that gives a better soundstage and the cable upgrade may produce the bass that the second placement did so best of both worlds?  Then again, it may lead to have to totally change speaker positions dependent on cable response.  What a hobby!

Pretty satisfied with my speaker placement at this point.  Now to contemplate cables or not.   

@tonydec good work giving yourself and your speakers time to settle in since new. Also, taking the time to test out different positions, toe-in vs toe-out too helps of course. I noticed a while back you had been using AQ King Cobra ICs and such. Among many I had those years ago and let friends borrow them when they wanted to test if they could tone down the highs a tad and they do take the edge off, I do not think of them as the most transparent cables, fwiw.  I've found it's helpful to place the best cables you have at the front end source, on the devices you listen to the most first. After the Cobras I had Apature silver-over copper, Analysis Plus Crystals, various Clear versions of Cardas, and others - all which were more transparent and revealing than the Cobras - IF that's what you are looking for. There are many other ICs you could try to open up the sound a bit more if that's what you seek. Good cables can make a difference on well appointed systems.   If you want to try many different cables before deciding, we sometimes recommend TheCableCo demo program to folks who want to try 4-5 different ICs pair then buy the ones you like, or simply return them all to the library. Some good options here for you to consider.  Best of Luck. 


Thank You.  The King Cobras have been pretty good bang for the buck for me and seem to work for my ear.